Landscaping & Lawn Care in Plano
01 Oct 2012

Dallas Watering in the Fall

How much should I water in the Fall?

From mid-September through November your lawn requires on average half of the water it did in the summer.

If you have the typical heads like this photo you can set your controller to water one day per week. Have your sprinklers run three times in the morning, 10 minutes each time.  Setting your controller for start times of 2am, 4am and 6am should allow enough time in between for the water to soak in.  If you have rotors (the type of sprinkler that sprays in a long thin stream and slowly turns) you will want to water twice that long or possibly longer.  These times are for areas with full sun.  In shady areas you can water about half or a quarter of the length of time suggested for sunny areas.

If you have a seasonal adjust spot on your controller you can leave the minutes and days alone and just set the seasonal adjust percentage to 50%.

Not sure what your city’s water restrictions are?  Here is a city by city list of links to their water restrictions.

If you need help setting your controller give us a call us or click here and we can probably walk you through the programming over the phone or (of course) we’ll be glad to stop by and set your controller for you.  We can also check to see if there are any leaks or clogged nozzles at that time.

30 May 2012

Make the most out of your Dallas area twice per week watering schedule

As of June 1st the Water District will transition to Stage Two water restrictions which allows twice per week watering.  While the average size lawns and landscapes will do pretty well on weekly watering, larger ones would have suffered from not enough minutes in that one day.  Add into the mix that once per week watering can be tough (for some controllers impossible) to program and this makes the news great for our area.

So how do you program for twice per week?  During the summer months, if you have spray heads and the lawn is in full sun, you’ll want to water 60 minutes per week which means 30 minutes on each of your days.  You’ll need to create start times for 2am, 3am and 4am with run times of 10 minutes each.

Some exceptions to that schedule: Rotory  heads that spray in streams of water and slowly turn cover twice as much area so you’ll want to water roughly twice as long.  If you have St. Augustine you’ll want to water a few minutes more since its broader leaf looses more moisture.  In the shade you’ll usually water a little more than half of that schedule.

If you’re not sure how to set your controller you’re welcome to call our office and we can probably explain over the phone, if not the good news is we’re offering $25 off of our first hour of sprinkler repair so now is a good time to have your sprinklers checked.

21 Apr 2012

Smart Controllers make once per week watering much, much easier and water far more efficiently.

Once per week watering is a pain in the neck to calculate.  As
mentioned in our article on watering once per week, at best you’ll
need 6 start times.  You have to calculate how long the total watering
time will be so the Water Police don’t ticket you accidentally running
past your allotted time.  Is there an easier way?  Yes.  Just like
your phone, we now have smart controllers.  We started using
Weathermatic’s Smartline Controller in our personal lawns during the
droughts we had several years ago, following Plano’s once per week
watering schedule.  While many people were complaining about what bad
shape their lawns and landscapes were in due to the watering
restrictions, our lawns were growing so fast the maintenance crews
were struggling to cut them.

The Smartline controller uses a weather monitor that senses the high
and low of each day.  We program into the controller what type of soil
and sprinklers you have, what type of plants each zone has, how much
shade and how much slope each zone has.  Then we tell it what your
current water restrictions are.  If your watering day is Saturday
except between 10am and 6pm, starting Sunday the controller will
calculate how many inches of water your lawn and landscape lost and,
since it knows it can’t water Sunday due to the water restrictions, it
will store that information daily until Saturday.  On Saturday at
midnight it will start watering.  During the summer it normally will
calculate about an hour per zone but it knows you have clay soil so it
will water each zone in 5 minute bursts (less if you have a slope)
with 30 minute soak times in between.  If there isn’t enough time to
finish watering before the 10am cutoff, it will pause and then at 6pm
it will start where it left off.

Sound complicated?  The programming we do is pretty in depth but once
we’ve done the programming you really don’t need to adjust it again.
Does it water perfectly?  Nope.  We’ve noticed in the winter it will
occasionally over water but it is certainly simpler to operate and
waters much more efficiently than programming by hand.

How much does it cost?  The installed price for most homes is $800
including the programming, so this controller isn’t for everyone but
water restrictions seem to be here to stay, and Smart Controllers are
the future of protecting your plants and foundation.

19 Apr 2012

Is once per week enough to water my Dallas lawn, even in the summer?

Most cities in the Dallas area have settled on a once per week
watering schedule.  Is that enough to keep your lawn and landscape
healthy?  Unless you have a very large lawn and landscape, the answer
is yes. Most cities allow watering from midnight to 10am and from 6pm
until midnight which is 16 hour.  That’s plenty of time to water but
you have to be creative in your watering schedule.

Studies have shown the key to healthy watering isn’t how often each
week you water, it’s the number of minutes per week.  As long as
you’re putting back into the soil the same amount it’s losing each
week, the lawn doesn’t care whether you’re watering daily or weekly.

During the summer, lawns in the sun lose roughly an inch of water per
week.  Sprinklers using normal spray heads, like the one pictured,
typically put out an inch of water per hour which means you need to
run each zone an hour on the one day per week you’re allowed to water.
The catch is our clay soils can’t absorb an hour of water all at once
which is why you have to be creative.  You need to break up your
schedule into several start times – the simplest is three start times
in the morning and three at night running 10 minutes each.  If you
have rotors (sprinklers that turn) you usually need to double the
length of time I just mentioned.  Since the cities allow 16 hours, you
need to water roughly an hour per zone so that means unless you have
more than sixteen zones or and don’t have lots of rotors you have
plenty of time to water your lawn – even once per week.

The main problem we’ve seen with the once per week watering isn’t with
the lawn, it’s the sprinkler controller.  There are quite a few that
won’t allow 6 start times.  Water restrictions seem to be here to stay
so it may be time to consider replacing your old controller.

Note:Be sure to double check your math so your sprinklers don’t
accidentally run past the water window you’re allowed.  If your math
isn’t very good you’re always welcome (actually encouraged) to call us
and one of our wonderful sprinkler technicians can stop by and help
you set your controller.


10 Apr 2012

North Dallas water restrictions by city…

A week or so ago the water board relaxed its water restrictions. As usual, each city has its own twist on the requirements so here is a list of the current water restrictions by city:

Allen Water Restrictions

Dallas Water Restrictions

Frisco Water Restrictions

Fairview Water Restrictions

Garland Water Restrictions

Murphy Water Restrictions

Plano Water Restrictions

Richardson Water Restrictions

Sachse Water Restrictions

01 Feb 2012

Stage 4 water restrictions delayed

  Last week the North Texas Municipal Water Board voted to postpone the decision to implement stage 4 water restrictions until June 1st.  What does this mean?  You’ll need to check with your individual city but many of the cities, mostly in Collin County, will remain on an every two week schedule. Dallas water restrictions are less restrictive because they own most of the water rights.

21 Oct 2011

What Do Stage 3 Water Restrictions Mean To My Landscape?

Most of the cities in the Dallas area will be switching to their stage 3 water restrictions as of November 1st. In general that means an every two week schedule.

Since the watering you should be doing in the fall is roughly half of what you would do in the summer, the simplest method of programming your controller is to water the same number of minutes you did in the summer (60 minutes per week for spray heads, 120 for rotors) except you’ll do it every two weeks instead.

What does this mean for your lawn and landscape? As long as you don’t miss one of your days your landscape should be fine. Our recommended watering schedule should replace any water lost during the two weeks. One of the few question marks though is annual installation. Since we haven’t done this before, we don’t know how our pansies with their small root system will handle the extended time in between watering. This is also not the time to over-seed winter rye or fescue because you won’t be able to water enough for the seed to germinate. Everything else should be okay.

One last thing to whether or not you need a new controller. Many controllers won’t automatically run on an every two week schedule so you will either need to remember to run them manually or invest in a new controller. One of the best on the market is Weathermatic’s Smart Line controller. It can be programmed to follow nearly all water restrictions including Stage Three and, for an additional cost, can track the high and low of each day and calculate the minutes it needs to water. We’ve been installing this controller for years and have been very impressed.

Don’t forget we’re offering $25 of our first hour of sprinkler repair. If you would like help setting your controller, click here to request a sprinkler check.

02 Jul 2011

Dallas Sprinkler Repair: Are you watering enough?

t’s summer in Dallas and that means temperatures at 100 degrees, give or take. So what what does under watering look like? In bermuda lawns most of the blades will turn slightly gray. You will see splotches of brown, sprinkled with grayish green grass and the lawn will look thin. Fortunately bermuda is an amazingly tough so once it gets enough water it usually springs right back. This photo is a good example of under watering.

How much should you water in the summer? In full sun your lawn will lose on average roughly one inch of water per week. Most spray heads (nozzles that spray in a fan pattern) put out roughly 1″ of water per hour. That means if you don’t water an hour per week your lawn gradually drys out. Imagine a slow leak in your car tire. If you don’t keep putting air into it at the same rate it’s leaking, eventually you’re going to have a flat tire. Rotory heads need to run even longer. Rotors are heads that spray in a stream and slowly turn. They typically cover twice the area with the same gallons of water the spray heads do which means they have to run twice as long. How many days per week should you water? The number of days per week doesn’t matter nearly as much as the total minutes per week.

These numbers are a good starting point but every landscape and every sprinkler system is different. In very shady areas you can probably cut back by 75% or more. Start with these minutes and then work up or down depending on how your lawn looks after a week or two.